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Emmanuel Jal is a former boy soldier from Sudan who has chosen music as a path to make his footprint in the world. After his Toronto performance at Super Market (268 Augusta Ave.) during Canada Music Week, GreenHeroes got a chance to meet with him briefly to hear more about his current journey.

Emmanuel Jal's performance at Super Market, March 12th, 2011. Photo Credit: Elisa L. Iannacone

“The war tore my people, so I can never change my history, but I can use my experience to try to educate young people so that they can change the past mistakes and act now to change the future. (…) I’m an entertainer, but an entertainer with responsibility.” His work, though strongly geared towards peace, is also a call for humanity to take a stance for Earth. Emmanuel Jal has witnessed the destruction of people, and urges us to realize that ‘environment’ is also ‘people’. “The worst people on Earth are not the people who commit the crime, are not the people who pollute the environment, but are the people who sit down and watch it happen.”

Emmanuel Jal on stage. Photo credit: Elisa L. Iannacone

Below is a transcription of a few of the things that Emmanuel mentioned during our interview. Click on the audio link to listen to him speak as you read along.

“A lot of things are happening. There’s issues about wars, there is starvation, there is education, there’s environment crisis now, the world is speaking to us. The world is talking. The Earth is shaking. There’s flooding, there’s famine, you know? Seasons are confused. 90 million tons of CO2 are pumped into the air, every day, and people don’t know the side effects that it creates for the environment.

Like, we are 7 billion people now, and around 2 billion people live comfortably. So the other 4.something billion are probably living on less than dollar-a-day. We’re running out of resources. So if you live according to the standard of England, then only 3 billion people can enjoy the resources. You know, if we live to the standards of India then we can have 15 billion people. We have one part of the world like America. So, the whole world is crumbling because they want to live to the standard of the West. If we try to live to the standard of the West, the resources are not enough, because the Earth cannot sustain that number of people. You see all the wars and all of these things have a side effect.

Environment is not just pollution. It’s also the people, the living things. People are getting killed in Darfour and everywhere; we’re all part of the environment. The worst people on Earth are not the people who commit the crime, are not the people who pollute the environment, but are the people who sit down and watch it happen; because every human being has the power to change. You don’t have to go far, begin with yourself, begin within yourself, what are you doing? You can’t wait for the government to fix it. You need to start fixing it.

You know, if you’re really concerned about the environment, then try to save money and buy a car that is a hybrid. If you care about fair trade, then look for fair trade products and buy them. You see like, if we look at it in terms of genocide, we are intertwined into it. Sometimes you can wear a T-shirt; you don’t know where the ink came from. Or where the cotton came from. You can wear gold or diamond; you don’t know where that diamond came from. Sometimes you don’t know where that fuel comes from, in Sudan we’ve got genocide, Libya-crisis. So all we have to do is take a measure. Slowly by slowly we can make the world a better place. We’re in better times now compared to 60 years ago because we’ve got the Internet—the people’s power. Probably, it was set up for control, but now, the people can use that to make change.”


Visit Emmanuel Jal’s Website for videos, news, releases and social media contact:


For information on GUA Africa, founded by Emmanuel Jal, go to:


Sarah Harmer, the GreenHero from our ‘In My Backyard’ campaign and one of our favourite Canadian Green musicians has been busy.

This year, Sarah’s album Oh Little Fire is nominated for 3 Juno Awards; Adult Alternative Album of the Year, Producer of the Year and Recording Engineer of the Year.

In one of our previous webisodes, we profiled Sarah’s tireless work to raise awareness about the problems facing the Niagara Escarpment.

This UNESCO Heritage Site is home to numerous species and trees that are as old as 1000 years. As we highlighted, Sarah is co-founder of PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and lends her energy to this cause which is close to her heart.

The Niagara Escarpment

Her film on the same subject has received great acclaim and she continues to speak for this beautiful natural resource.

This film, entitled “Escarpment Blues” is being played at TIFF Thursday March 24th as part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations of the JUNO Awards in Toronto. For more info regarding this screening click here. Go check it out and get involved!

Listen to her song of the same name below:


From the Airwaves

Below, watch Bruce’s poignant video of “If a Tree Falls” recorded originally in 1988, which he performed live in 2005 at the U.N. Summit on Climate Change.

The juxtaposition of acreage of untouched beautiful forest with images of clear cutting and mechanic destruction of trees really bring to light the tragedy of destroying these natural resources.


Bruce’s song “If I had a Rocket Launcher” was the 1984 hit that really confirmed him as a musical activist in the public’s eye.

He penned this song after a visit to a Guatemalan refugee camps in Mexico following the coup of dictator Montt.

It came back into public consciousness when he was recently in Afghanistan visiting his brother, who was serving with the Canadian Army there For a short period of time, he was actually given a rocket launcher, listen below:

This interview showcases Bruce’s commitment to social change through his music. Read all about what keeps him motivated and how his career has been dedicated to raising public awareness about what is most important to him.

This past week CineFocus and The GreenHeroes Team headed to Canada Music Week that took place in Toronto.

Along with big names like Sammy Hagar and Sarah McLachlan, this celebration of Canadian talent included more than 100 performers from all over the world.

CineFocus captured some great performances by Eco-conscious musicians, attended interviews and asked performers to weigh-in on why the environment is so important to them.

Several celebrated musicians have used their fame to spread the word about greener, healthier living and treating the earth with greater respect. There are some great examples in the music world of how fame can serve as a place to increase awareness.

Melissa Etheridge, who was in attendance at this Canada music week, won an Academy Award for the song she penned for Al Gore’s An Inconvienient Truth.
Appropriately entitled “I Need to Wake Up” this song sends a warning message and provided a great audio backdrop for Gore’s successful film. In 2006, Etheridge once again brought attention to ecologically friendly living when she toured through Canada and the U.S. using exclusively bio-desiels for all her vehicles.

Stay tuned for updates from our team as they share their spoils from Music Week.

Can music affect social change? There is no doubt that music has the ability to effect us emotionally, make us think and see the world differently and that musicians have the power to change the world for the better with the broad platform they possess in their fan-base.

This week, we highlight one of the many artists who are melding the world of politics with music.

Ottawa born Bruce Cockburn is the winner of 13 Juno Awards, an Officer of the Order of Canada and has more than 30 albums under his belt.

However, he is also a long-time, outspoken advocate for the environment and unafraid to publicly tackle difficult political questions.

He is committed to raising ecological and social awareness; Bruce is the honorary chairperson of Friends of the Earth and a supporter of the Unitarian Service Committee, he performed at a UNICEF concert in Kosovo, and was a spokesperson for the movement to ban land mines.

In 2005 he performed his well-known “If A Tree Falls” at the UN Summit for Climate Control in Montreal.

Indeed, Bruce was one of the earlier mainstream voices to speak about the destruction of our natural resources and he did so with the conviction that he was speaking for many others who shared his concern.

When asked about why he chose his music as the forum from which to encourage others to think about the human connection to our environment, he explained:

“I don’t think music can bring about social change by itself. I think it can be a crystallizing agent for waves of feeling that move through all of us.”

His music delivers a powerful message in a medium we all enjoy. His upcoming tour to promote his new album, Small Source of Comfort, takes him all over the U.S. and Canada so go check Bruce out live at a location near you!

Watch Bruce’s webisode.

The New Model T

Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry with his Model T back in 1908. He claimed the customer could have a car “any color that he wanted, so long as it was black”.

It was a car designed for the masses, from the well-heeled, affluent captains of industry to the lowly assembly-line workers.  Ford’s vehicles, though made with the highest quality materials, were extremely affordable.

We have journeyed over a century away from the launch of the Model T, and as Ian Clifford indicates, we might just be “on the verge of very, very significant change, very disruptive change, sort of at a scale that we haven’t seen for a very long time.”

Model T Ford Roadster

The thought of an electric car is a bit like the concept of 3D films; the idea is old, the concept has taken off a few times and failed, but we might just be getting closer to making it happen for good.

Hybrids have been on the market for a few years now, and several companies such as Dynasty Electric Cars, Miles Electric Vehicles, Global Electric Motorcars and Clifford’s ZENN Motor Company are pushing the boundaries of electric car technology.

The fact that these cars are still not easily accessible is due not only to their currently inflated prices, but also to the electrical power overload that this whole transition implies for our current electrical supply.

Tesla Roadster, all-electric sports car, charging

The future of electric vehicles still holds a lot of uncertainty. For example, where will we charge them? Replacing gas stations with battery charging stations is always a possibility. One idea floating around is that consumers should be able to buy multiple car batteries that can actually slide in and out of their cars.

This would allow us to have back ups for whenever we run out of juice. The only thing certain is that with the rising cost of oil and the climate changes we are facing, we are indeed at a moment of change, perhaps a change that will lead us to have ‘any color–so long as it’s electric.’

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!


It takes one particular person to walk the road less traveled before everyone else follows, and soon enough it becomes the one most traveled. Ansel Adams was a true pioneer in the field of photography, creating a ‘Zone System’ in order to control exposure within the image.

His photographs make full use of the film’s latitude, from true black to true white. It is that passion for innovation that later inspired Ian Clifford, after mentoring with Ansel Adams, to apply this innovative mentality to the rest of his life.

His electric car is revolutionizing the way we understand transportation today, and will, no doubt, continue to do so in the future. Take, for example, the recent hybrids rolling off the assembly lines of the major auto manufacturers.

The Tetons & The Snake River

Photo Credit : Ansel Adams

Adams used photography to convey the richness and beauty of the world’s environments and the need to preserve them. Clifford’s ZENN Motor Company is focused on the development of electric cars.

The whole principle of Zero Emission No Noise is to eliminate the waste products that are generated through internal combustion engines. This change, which is slowly gaining momentum, is imperative for the conservation of the planet.

Linked through the camera, each carving his own path, both Adams and Clifford have made significant contributions to the environment. While the former published works such as The John Muir Trail, which led to the creation of a National Park, the latter continues to develop a way to take cars to a more ecologically sound level.

Both men bring a strong sense of social responsibility and action into their work. Hence, it is their kind of mentality and energy that is needed in order to generate a change that begins at the road less traveled.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters!
Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!


Ed. Emily Hunter. San Francisco: Conari Press. 2011.


If we need proof that young people are neither apathetic nor in what is going on around the world, here we have it.

If anything, judging from the voices in this collection, young people around the world are passionately committed to counteracting the problems created by the powerful few who have squandered and destroyed much of the earth’s bounty.

Their voices need to be heard since their very commitment might just save the planet.

In The Next Eco-Warriors, Emily Hunter, daughter of Greenpeace founder Robert Hunter, has collected the stories of twenty-two people that redefine the meaning of activism.

Hunter’s purpose is a plea for a global movement that puts the value of the planet before the value of profit and progress.

Ranging in age from their early twenties to their thirties and geographically spanning the globe from North America to China, their stories are as diverse as their characters.

Hunter calls them the new global ‘Eco-warriors’, a term coined by her father.

The stories of these Eco-warriors prove beyond doubt that it is not just those with power who can effect change. As their stories show anyone who cares can be an Eco-warrior; it is a matter of passion and commitment.

To help make the world a better place to live, they tackle problems of climate change, energy use, overfishing, the disappearance of indigenous cultures, animal species, and various ecosystems.

Enei Begaye, a Dine activist uses protest to stop the coal mining that is destroying the land and culture of her her people in the south western United States.

Kevin Ochien, a young Kenyan, leads a peaceful climate movement not just in Kenya but across Africa. Win

Bo, a Chinese activist, started the first Greenpeace in mainland China, while African American Tanya Fields uses urban farming as a way of fighting poverty in her community of the Bronx in New York City.

Their tactics are as different as their goals; ranging from individual protest and group demonstration, to more radical actions of confrontation and subterfuge, as well as artistic expression to draw attention to the problems they see.

Australian Andy Riley first conceives his idea of Earth Hour in Sydney. Now it takes place around the globe.

The American Jamie Henn founds the movement 350.org to help lower carbon emissions.

Rob Stewart makes a documentary to reveal the brutality behind the shark fishing that supplies fins for shark fin soup, while Jo-Anne McArthur uses photography to reveal the cruelty animals often suffer in the name of fashion, fad, and sport.

Each story in this collection offers another example of the various ways we can all help save the planet.

As Hunter says in her introduction, “the world of revolution is open to everyone who wants to make a substantial difference.” As a collection, this book offers hope and inspiration to us all.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

The Toronto Auto Show this past month saw the more traditional gas-guzzling machines we typically associate with car shows displayed alongside some of the world’s newest electric vehicles, showing consumers they really do have the option to go green when purchasing a new without having to sacrifice style and comfort.

From zippy two wheelers to more spacious mid-sized cars, the e-vehicle was out in full force this passed February.

Cars such as the new Fiat, the all-wheel-drive Mini and the new 100 % electric Smart showed off their sleek new looks. The Smart’s “ForTwo” has a fun interior with details such as a lime green speedometers and is totally silent when it drives.

From Ford comes “The Focus Electric” the first fuel-free rechargeable passenger car from Ford and the flagship of the company’s growing school of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. They are scheduled to arrive in North America and Europe by late 2013. This e-car boasts an advanced lithium-ion battery engineered by Ford with help from supplier LG Chem. It has the ability to charge completely in three to four hours using a 240-volt charge station.

Other models made use of electric power in conjunction with existing, traditional fuel technologies, such as the 2012 Infinity M Hybrid. This M35h benefits from Infiniti’s V6 engine paired with a 50 kW electric motor. It can drive on electric power alone at speeds up to 100 km/h and can travel on electric propulsion for almost 2 kilometres.

Whether it is speed, sleek design or just a green way to get around, the Toronto Auto Show showed us all the electric car is the way to go.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Since early January of this year articles and blogs have been telling us 2011 is going to be “The Year of the Electric Car”. This mighty title was taken from an early January Globe and Mail article of the same name and has re-opened talk around Ontario’s sometimes unclear stance on electric cars on our roads.

Electric car use is presently at provincial-level jurisdiction, but that wasn’t always the case. Transport Canada originally approved electric cars for sale and use, but left the finer details to be worked out province by province.

The perception that Ontario didn’t allow electric cars is not correct, but it does speak of the quandary of legislation it passed which rendered these e-vehicles of very little use to everyday drivers. The stringent safety standards set out by the province meant the low-speed e-vehicles in existence could not be driven on most Ontario roads.

This left e-cars like the Zenn in a position to operate only in closed, private spaces – hardly practical. It also forced the Canadian manufacturer Zenn, to sell its product in the United States and other countries with more reasonable safety standards.

However, 2010 saw the provincial government express more interest in the possibilities e-vehicles present. Safety standards have stayed consistent which allowed car-makers to catch up. Cash rebates are also offered to those purchasing electric cars as of July 1st 2010.

This incentive deal is coupled with the vast array of choices consumers now have when sourcing an e-car, in 2011 models from such manufacturers as Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and even the sexy Porsche and Tesla companies are being rolled out to compete in this new corner of the market.

The Ontario government has more recently taken further steps to promote use of e-cars, announcing it wants to see 5% of all vehicles on Ontario roads are electric by the year 2020. Ontario energy companies are busy preparing for the upcoming demand this will place on the grid by investing $7 million into Ryerson University’s new Centre for Urban Energy over the next 5 years.

This cash infusion will allow Ryerson University to tackle such tough energy supply issues as ways that cities can produce more energy, how to distribute it cleanly, and improving energy storage techniques.

It took a while, but Ontario is bringing the electric car back to life.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters!
Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!